The Good Old Hockey Game

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Chapter 1

Keitaro Urashima tried hard to be an honest person. He certainly did not like to lie, and in particular, to those he cared about. Of course, there was the occasional white lie that he would have to tell, but Keitaro had promised himself to stop. No more – he was going to tell nothing but the truth from now on. Despite whatever situation, whatever reason, or whatever cause, Keitaro would always tell the truth from now on.

"WHAT?!"

Keitaro cringed in his chair as he just told the truth to the residents of Hinata Sou. His hand was held carefully onto the large package that rested next to his seat, as though trying to hold onto something to keep himself steady. The air seemed to thicken for a moment in the lobby of the inn as the truth finally made its way out. In the back of Keitaro's mind, he had realized that perhaps telling the truth at this exact moment was a stupid, stupid move.

"Keitaro, explain – now"

Naru's fist was raised and appeared ready to pounce on the unfortunate manager. Keitaro gulped and shrunk into his seat. He knew all too well how strong Naru was, especially when she was angry. Fortunately for him, Aunt Haruka set a hand on Naru's shoulder, prompting the seventeen year-old to back off and let Keitaro finish.

"We're broke…again" Keitaro said rather simply.

There was no other way to actually say it. This was definitely not the first time Hinata Sou was broke. Given how chaotic the financial situation of the inn tends to be, Keitaro would not have been surprised to know this problem was going to occur yet again.

"But…we already paid our rent, didn't we?" Shinobu quietly squeaked, still taking in the new revelation.

"Urashima, you must have been misusing our funds!" Motoko screamed, ready to draw her katana in a moment's notice on the poor apartment manager.

Luckily for Keitaro, Haruka and Naru were quickly onto Motoko and had barely held off the samurai from beheading Keitaro at that moment. While they did so, Keitaro carefully planned his next set of moves. The entire situation was still fresh on him, and the solution he was already forced into was sure to raise some havoc amongst the residents. He had better start thinking of a way to tell them.

"But how can we be broke?! We did pay our bills, right Keitaro?" Naru asked, as Motoko finally calmed down and returned to her seat.

"Think about it for a minute," Haruka said in a calm voice. "Think about what you guys have been doing the past few weeks."

Haruka then lifted up a hand and began counting off with each finger.

"Party, party, party…one after the other. Just like last time, actually."

"Well then, isn't it simple?" Motoko said in a much calmer voice. "We all need to get part-time jobs and repay our debt, like last time."

Keitaro fidgeted in his seat yet again as Motoko made her suggestion.

"It's…not like last time."

Taking a deep breath, Keitaro recalled the number.

"We need about 750 000 yen."

There was a distinct pause as the number registered with the other boarders of Hinata Sou. Keitaro could have sworn he could hear a pin drop with this level of silence. Inside, he braced himself. It was not everyday they needed 750 000 yen to pay for the total bills, and as such, the potential response from either Naru or Motoko would require him to hold on for dear life.

Strangely, it never came.

"Wait, how're we short 750 000 yen?" Kitsune asked, breaking the silence.

There was no answer. Instead, everybody in the lobby merely looked at their resident foxy girl with rather disbelieving and irritated glares. It took Kitsune a moment to realize why they were looking at her like that.

"Oh right…c'mon, I thought Neverquest was gonna to win! I could have won back everything!" Kitsune tried desperately to explain her motives for betting on horse races and losing yet again.

If not for the limitations of physical reality, the moment after Kitsune answered would have warranted for a perfectly executed face fault by the residents.

"Well, there's a bit more, actually…" Keitaro continued on, his voice suddenly quieting down a bit just after.

All eyes then turned towards Su. The young foreigner looked to and from the other residents, somewhat unaware of how she was related to Hinata Sou's money problems.

"Huh, what did I do?" Su asked innocently.

"Do you remember your Mecha-Tama?" Haruka asked.

Su scratched the bottom of her chin for a moment, trying to recall what the other residents were referring to.

"The one that demolished part of the inn?" Naru added, speeding up Su's thinking process a bit.

"Oh…right." Su innocently scratched the back of her head, as though nothing was wrong.

Somehow, Keitaro could sympathize with Su. The young girl was always so active and was always on the verge of doing something new and out of insanity, he supposed she could potentially forget events of the past while or so.

But how could Su forget her invention tearing through part of the inn and later self-destructing?

"Is there anything else we need to owe money for?" Naru asked.

"…no…."

Keitaro tried to keep his voice steady, but Naru in particular had caught on. She knew he was hiding something. Eventually, the others caught on as well. Looking around uneasily, Keitaro realized how much of a hot seat he was in.

"Uh…say, Narusegawa, do you remember that…incident we had while the construction crews were doing the repairs?"

It was difficult to tell, but Keitaro could have sworn he could see a vein on Naru's forehead begin to pulsate. Of course she would remember, and of course, everybody else would remember just as well. Who would not remember when Keitaro, in a usual fit of bad luck, walked in on Naru changing for the umpteenth time?

"Get to the point."

"…we had to pay for that as well" Keitaro said nervously, trying not to enrage Naru yet again.

"H-h-h-how do we get 750 000 yen?" Shinobu asked in a quiet, nervous voice.

"Well…uh…" Keitaro stuttered and found he was unable to speak. It just happened to be where the conversation would be the hardest to get into.

His delaying caught the attentions of Haruka, who already knew what the solution was, much to her chagrin. In particular, Naru and Motoko could have easily guessed that Keitaro knew something else and was reluctant to say it.

"Yes, Keitaro? You were saying?" Naru said. Her voice was slow and carefully paced, as though in an attempt to restrain herself from sending Keitaro into orbit.

"Well…I talked to the service providers…and I…I…" Keitaro swallowed once, and hoped he would make it out alive after this. "I…made a deal with them."

Another lapse of uncomfortable silence fell over the residents of Hinata Sou yet again. Keitaro could feel the sweat slowly drip down his back. The tension in the air was thick and suffocating. Time passed on, and seconds slowly began to feel like minutes as the silence remained. It was then interrupted by a single, slightly out-of-place, voice from the residents.

"Wait, let me guess." Kitsune, Hinata Sou's resident fox spoke up. Keitaro wasn't sure whether Kitsune's tone of voice was merely joking or anticipative. "We're gonna start a harem?"

"URASHIMA!"

"Keitaro, you little-!"

The tension dropped out of the air and in its place came nothing less than unbridled and unmatchable rage.

Naru and Motoko were quickly onto Keitaro. All the while, Haruka watched on, apparently not surprised at what was happening. Kitsune sat in her seat imagining how a Hinata Sou harem would perhaps function, Shinobu flushed bright scarlet at what being in a harem would possibly mean, while Su stood about wondering what a 'harem' was and whether it was tasty.

"That's enough." A pair of hands held Naru and Motoko back from murdering Keitaro. Shortly after, Haruka stepped in and prompted order from the residents.

"We're not doing a harem" Haruka said firmly, to put to rest the girls' suspicions.

"Then what's going to happen?!" Naru demanded. "We're short 750 000 yen, and we can't pay it back! What're we going do?!"

"I'll let Keitaro explain it," Haruka said, referring over to her nephew. "To be honest, the idea's crazy, but I think only he can explain it."

Haruka backed off, leaving the girls to wonder what Haruka meant and what she possibly knew beforehand, and leaving Keitaro to stand up from his seat. He turned his attention over to the large package that sat next to him. Despite the size of the package, it was completely ignored by the residents as soon as Keitaro had mentioned about their financial situation moment ago. Keitaro slowly began to unzip and open the large package. The package itself was more of a bag, complete with large and durable handles and curiously marked with a symbol of an athletics company on the side.

"I talked to the service providers, and they said they were willing to pay the costs for our bills," Keitaro began to explain while he continued and struggled on-and-off to open up more of the bag. His mentions of how willing the service providers were to offer such charity was music to the ears of the residents, but even they could not help but wonder if such a gift came with a price.

"What's the catch?" Naru asked.

"Well…they said they all have investments in something, and they're putting a lot of money into it," Keitaro continued, holding his voice together surprisingly well for somebody so nervous. "They want us to join something they're investing. If we do that, they will pay for all our bills themselves, and even pay for us to take part in their investment."

Keitaro finally managed to yank the last bit of the zipper open. As he did so, Naru stepped forward, intent to knowing just what their service providers were planning.

"Keitaro…what do they want us to do?"

The manager of Hinata Sou said nothing. He merely turned around to face the residents with the large bag in his hands. Turning it over, he emptied out the contents onto the ground in a disorganized clatter. With the exception of Haruka, who Keitaro had informed earlier regarding what was going to happen, everybody in the lobby wore identical faces of shock as they realized just what had fallen out of the large bag.

Hockey sticks, skates, and pucks.

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Note:

(cackles madly)

It was only a matter of time, really. The hockey nut in me demanded it, and I delivered it.

The idea began awhile back during the NHL regular season. I'll explain - I live in Calgary, as I've stated in my bio, and I am a Calgary Flames fan. I'm not quite sure, but I believe the constant exposure to hockey mixed in with my fanfiction writing, and since I had gotten head-first into Love Hina at the time and was still in the process of thinking and writing then...Love Hina and hockey converged.

Therefore...this. I've seen crackfics and I've seen and thought up some weird ideas before but hockey and Love Hina? I love it.

I'm still ironing out some of the ideas for this one. I've got most of the roster already set in place and I've determined generally what's going to happen over time. I have a few good ideas of how games will go and some of the various 'incidents' that will occur in certain games (come on, it's the Love Hina cast - think of what can possibly go right?), but actually writing them may pose a challenge. Of course, this is my truly original idea, so I definitely want to write it.

As for my other fics...as far as I'm concerned, I just want to write. Anything. Progress is coming along gradually, but usual lulls in my writing process, as well as with second thoughts and reconsiderations have made it hard to continue. I'm not axing any of my fics - I just need some time off, I guess, and an idea that my mind likes at the moment in order to write the best. At the time of writing this, I'm pretty much done high school, so I actually have time to write until university.

So, if I'm lucky, I might actually get around to updating some of my other fics, assuming nothing terrible happens to me between now and whenever.

Ah well, I can only hope for the best for myself...but more so for the team (...just had to add that). 'Til whenever, I guess...

-June 25, 2007